Bertil Lindblad ’78, Senior Advisor for International Initiatives
“We want to deepen the international experience of Pomona students so that they are equipped for leadership in an interconnected world.” Bertil Lindblad ’78, Senior Advisor for International Initiatives.
Bertil Lindblad, former director of the UNAIDS New York Office, joined Pomona College as Senior Adviser for International Initiatives in March 2013, bringing more than 30 years of experience in large and complex global organizations focused on international cooperation and development.
In the newly created position, Lindblad works with the College’s leadership to coordinate and expand Pomona College’s global connections and international activities through collaborative relationships. His duties include working with faculty to establish relationships with international organizations, including non-governmental organizations, United Nations agencies and think tanks; expanding international options for students interested in research, internships and post-baccalaureate opportunities; and facilitating campus visits by international professionals, artists and scholars for meaningful interactions with Pomona students and faculty.
Lindblad, a 1978 graduate of Pomona College, assumed the position as Director of the UNAIDS New York Office in 2008, leading UNAIDS engagement with the UN General Assembly, Security Council and other UN bodies. Prior to his return to New York, he spent four years as UNAIDS Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, based in Moscow. There he coordinated the development, implementation, monitoring and reporting of UNAIDS programmes to strengthen UN country team responses to HIV/AIDS in the region. His previous posts with UNAIDS include Deputy Director of the New York Office and Senior Liaison Officer. He also coordinated the first ever General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS in 2001.
Prior to joining UNAIDS, Lindblad served as Senior Advisor/Child Protection at UNICEF headquarters in New York, providing policy and program guidance in the area of child protection and child rights. He led the development of a new UNICEF policy on child protection, with the Convention on the Rights of the Child as the framework, adopted by the Executive Board in 1996, and served as the organization’s spokesperson on these issues with media and donors. From 1984 to 1994, he held senior positions with Swedish Save the Children, including Asia Coordinator and Country Representative in Vietnam. His international career began in Moscow, where he served in the Commercial Section of the Swedish Embassy from 1980-82.
At Pomona College, Lindblad majored in government, with substantial course work in French and Russian. He also holds a certificate in International Relations from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris and a certificate in French from the Sorbonne.
On returning to Pomona’s campus, Lindblad says, “On a personal level, it feels like I have come full circle. Almost 35 years from the day I graduated, I will be returning to campus. What I learned and what I was given at Pomona paved the way for a long, fascinating and global career, and I’m looking forward to being able to share some of this and my contacts with the College. I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences and what I’ve learned with students, faculty and staff.”
Lindblad first came to California in 1971 as a high school exchange student from Sweden, returning to the state to attend Pomona College. In his first week, he went to the Oldenborg Language Tables and was intrigued by the Russian table where he met the late Professor Vladimir Ulitin and his wife Sofia. A week later, he tried a Russian language class and was soon “hooked on the language,” adding the study of Russian to his advanced French classes. A former Oldenborg resident, who lived in the French section and spent his study abroad semester in Paris, he credits Pomona for his global career and journey.